Last updated: 30 September 2004
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade DS telescope models. Accessories and Feedback items appropriate to the ETX models are posted on other pages as appropriate. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Sky & Telescope DS Models review (12/20/99)
Guest DS2130 review (11/15/01)

Subject:	Leather Washer Fix
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 2004 13:05:37
From:	Tony Miller (tmiller@radiohio.com)
I'm in need of more detail on the "leather washer fix" for DS mounts.  I
know you trace the tab washer on a piece of old belt leather (some say
rubber hose washers will work, too) and then place it between the tab
washer and the drive gear.

Do you do this on BOTH sides of the drive gear (i.e., TWO leather
washers for each axis), or on just ONE side?  I know I saw a more
detailed version a while back on your site but can't seem to be able to
find it.  I've got a simple page from the Meade-DS user group files
area, but it really isn't detailed enough, and doesn't answer the "one"
or "both" question.

This is being used to help correct a "slip" situation where the AZ axis
will slip going clockwise in certain, unpredictable instances.  I've
already done adjustments to the small inset allen bolts which adjust
tension on the worm gear assembly, with little result.

Any pointing you can do for me would be appreciated!  Meantime, I'll
keep looking!  Thanks.

T. Miller
Columbus, OH
Mike here: All I know is what is posted in the tip; have you contacted the author?
Subject:	re:  Autostar 494 vs. Starfinder
Sent:	Sunday, September 26, 2004 19:49:35
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
(Man, i wish Mike would forward Starfinder/494 questions to me)

The 494 (as you have discovered) is only for the Alt/Az mounted models.
You require either another Starfinder (which -should- work with your
motors), or a 495 or 497 which can be -taught- to work with your motors.

But first: From your symptoms, you may simply have the motors
swapped on the mount.  The one with the Battery connector 
should be stationary on the tripod (driving the RA),
and the one with the Autostar socket should be moving along
when the RA spins, and be attached to the DEC shaft.

For LOTS of 114EQ and (its sister) 4504 support, visit/join
the 4504 Yahoo group:

The 495 (which is just like a 497, and has a numeric keypad)
can be updated with Meade's latest firmware and taught to
run a 114EQ.  You can either simply tell the Autostar that
you have an LXD55 (any model), and change the Ratios
( Setup > Telescope > RA Ratio  (and DEC Ratio))
For the 114eq, the values are:
 RA=4.562963   DEC=4.562693

The other way to teach it about the 114EQ is to modify the
Meade firmware with my patch kit... one feature of which
is to -add- the "4504/114EQ" as a known model.
The patch kits are here on Mike's site under the Autostar Info page,
or in the Files area of the above-cited Yahoo group.

have fun
Mike here: One of these days I'll learn that!
Subject:	Autostar 494 vs. Starfinder
Sent:	Sunday, September 26, 2004 13:38:32
From:	Susan Staton (suzstaton@hotmail.com)
I recently purchase a Meade ds114eq off of Ebay and it came with the
display in the starfinder smashed. I had read enough of your page to be
dangerous and sent off for a new 494 Autostar thinking I could simply
plug and go. Well, needless to say I have dug myself in deeper and
although the 494 will run the motors it seems useles for finding objects
and tends to point in directions that don't make sense from a refractor
or reflector point of view. I told it was attached to an etx since that
was the only way I could get it to accept that it was running an
equitorial mount. I can probably return it for a 495 autostar. Would
that help me properly control the ds 114 eq? Is there a better way to
use a 494 with a ds114eq? It dose have a setting for ds114 but this only
enables alt/az mount format. thank you in advance for any direction you
may be able to provide.
Mike here: According to Meade's page (http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html), the #494 should work OK with any DS model. Does any DS model appear in the telescope menu?


Thank you for your timely response. Yes, DS 60, DS 70, DS 90, DS 114, DS
127, and ETX 70 are available models. However, whenever I select any DS
model, the polar mount option becomes disabled and you are forced to use
the alt/az mount setting. The DS 114 I have has an equitorial style
mount, not an alt/az. I could try to use it in alt/az mode and see what
happpens, if that's what you suggest. If you know, please advise if I
should try to swap the 494 controller for the 495 while the 494 shipment
is fresh.  We're having a hurricane here right now, but I'm going to the
garage to see if using in DS114 Alt/Az mode puts it any closer to where
Vega and Altair really ought to be. Thanks again. You Da Meade "GOTO"
Mike here: Not being that familiar with the DS models, I would suggest trying Alt/Az.


Okay, I tried it on the DS 114 w/ alt/az mount setting and it was still
schizophenic reference location of common stars- thought Polaris was
about 10 degrees northwest of Vega. This is actually model 114EQ DH4.
Does that make a difference? In the meade manuals I found at their site,
it most closely resemble the 4504. I know I'm asking alot and I'm not
the only mail out there. But I've been doing decent astronomy for the
past 14 years with my old Meade 8" Newtonian. I thought this would make
it easier to find stuff and then I could look more closely with the
larger scope. Or hook up a ccd camera and sit inside and observe. But
this thing is making me feel pretty stupid fast. Thanks again.
Mike here: Yeah, that makes a difference. Starfinder works; I don't believe the Autostar will.


This is the last I will bother you with this, I promise. Do you know if
the autostar 495 will control the 114EQ DH4 properly?

Again, thank you for all your time and patience with me. Once I get up
and running I will send something useful.
Mike here: Don't think so.
Subject:	DS v. ETX
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 2004 09:25:58
From:	James Saint (jsaint@iname.com)
I just found your site and it is an amazing warehouse of information.
Great job!

I just purchased a DS-2130AT from the Meade factory outlet. I was
originally looking at an ETX-70AT, but the DS looked like a much better
telescope. Now I am wondering. Everything on the web seems to be about
the ETX. The DS was only $20 more and almost double the aperture. I am
new to astronomy but felt that this was very important. Am I missing
something? Thanks for your help.

Mike here: Both are fine instruments. The ETX line has more options readily available than the DS line. But there is certainly a lot to be said for aperture.


Thanks, that is what I thought. If they had one of the higher end ETX
telescopes, I probably would have gone for that. But it seemed that the
70 didn't have everything the 90 and 105 have.

Thanks for the info.


Subject:	RE: no clear images DS2070AT
Sent:	Monday, September 20, 2004 10:17:00
From:	Flores
Well, according to my handbook, my telescope would not require any
colimation because it's a refractor telescope..  Thus, I guess the
problem is with my eyepiece.
I have followed your instructions about it...
+ There're no rattles when shaking it gently..
+ As I rotate the eyepiece, the image rotates too.. 

What would you say?   Is the eyepiece the problem..?
Mike here: Since the image rotates with the eyepiece, the eyepiece is the problem. It could be that the lenses are out of alignment. Or a lens is smeared with something.
Subject:	DS90ATA
Sent:	Sunday, September 19, 2004 19:11:44
From:	skyboy50@bellsouth.net
I recently purchased a DS-90ATA on E-bay.  During much research I found
that the DS-90 ending in "ATA" includes a 1.25 inch focuser  but no
"electronic eyepiece". The "AT" version includes a .965 focuser and en
electronic eyepiece. The electronic eyepiece allows viewing what you
would normally see through the eyepiece on a monitor with an RCA input,
or similar device.  I understand that this device is not the greatest
and will not be sensitive enough to view very distant objects, however
viewing the moon should be fun!  I personally prefer the larger focuser.
 I recommend extreme care when attaching the drive motors as they can be
cross-threaded fairly easily.  Take your time here and have good

I do think that it is a great value...


Subject:	Re: EXT-90EC versus the MEADE TeleStar 144mm
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 2004 18:39:19
From:	Arlene Mendez (mieloso2@hotmail.com)
Thank you for responding to my question, and yes, the Autostar #497 and
the #884 tripod were included.

 Arlene Mendez.

Subject:	DS-90ATA
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 2004 14:46:34
From:	Judy Jensen (jjensen@oru.edu)
I have just found your web site and was reading some of your answers. 
You said that the DS-90ATA was discontinued.  We also saw it at Sam's
and was looking at it as a  first telescope for our son.  Now I'm not so
sure.  Do you have one that you would suggest for a first timer ? Our
son is 25yrs. old?  Having no knowledge of telescopes our selves it
seems that the one we saw at Sam's did a lot of neat stuff.  Any
information would be appreciated
Thank you,
Mike here: All telescopes will do neat stuff. It just depends upon what your definition of "neat" is. Or said another way, the best telescope for anyone is the telescope that gets used. Look through the ETX Site (especially the User Observations page), decide what you want the telescope to do and what the expectations are for what you will see. Compare that to your budget. Doing some research is necessary to avoid having the telescope end up in the closet.
Subject:	bought a new model DS2130AT.  cant see anything!  help!!
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 2004 18:31:17
From:	gail weitzel (gailweitzel@earthlink.net)
I just bought a meade telestar model number DS 2130 AT.  we aligned it
during the day and could pick the staples off the barn roof.  after
dark, tried to see the star, everything is black except for one 25 mm
lens and all we see is small white dots.  we can see them better with
the naked eye.  what are we doing wrong.  I never owned a telescope and
this is not what i expected, really disappointed.

please email me soon before I return it.

Mike here: Stars are too far away to show anything but a pinpoint of light. Try a planet or the Moon.
Subject:	EXT-90EC versus the MEADE TeleStar 144mm
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 2004 12:44:03
From:	Arlene Mendez (mieloso2@hotmail.com)
Just recently, (09/04/04) my dad and I bought a telescope. We decided to
buy the ETX-90EC ($545.00 at a Discovery store
http://store.discovery.com) becauase we read good reviews about it.
However, today (09/11/04) while searching the web for a compass, I came
across another MEADE telescope
(http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=26840960), which
also has an autostar, and the apperture is 4.5" rather than 90mm for
$289.00. My questions: Is the ETX-90EC worth the extra money? and, what
makes it more expensive even with a smaller aperture? Thank you for your

Arlene Mendez
Mike here: First, I hope you got the "AT" model with the Autostar #497 and the #884 tripod and not the "EC" model, which doesn't include those. Each model telescope is different. A larger aperture is nice for many objects but so is a longer focal length, a better Autostar system, a better tripod, etc. The optical quality and optical design of the ETX are what really set it apart from other telescopes.
Subject:	DS2114ATS
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:29:20
From:	Amanda Attwood (mazzy7sim@yahoo.co.uk)
I am a very new beginner and have been having difficulties with
aligning, setting up, the autostarallsorts.  I was very pleased with
myself the night before last when I actually started "finding"
recognisable things.

I thought I might benefit from practising during the day.  I found when
looking down the telescope that the picture is not just reversed but
tilted at 45 degrees.  Is this normal?  I have read and reread the
manual which isn't particularly helpful.

Please help me, Im at my wits end.

Mike here: The "tilt" will depend on the telescope orientation as well as your position when looking through the eyepiece. So what you are seeing could be and likely is a normal view.
Subject:	Question regarding the DS 114-ATE 
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 2004 10:21:24
From:	Timothy, Leslie & Nicholas Colclough (inthesun@coralwave.com)
I've just received the Meade DS 114-ATE as a birthday present and am
very excited about using it.  I played with it this morning, to get used
to the controls, but one thing is puzzling me.  Once the telescope has
moved to its location, I still here the motors running.  Is this normal?
 They are not straining, but there is definitely a noise.

Many thanks.

Kind regards,


Tim Colclough

Nassau, Bahamas
Mike here: Since the telescope has to move to compensate for the Earth's rotation what you are hearing is the drives running to do that. This occurs when in "astronomical tracking mode".
Subject:	DS-90ATA Meade from sams club
Sent:	Friday, September 10, 2004 08:12:41
From:	MeBibb10@aol.com (MeBibb10@aol.com)
I also purchased the same telescope as you. I haven't had a chance to
use it.
How is yours doing?
Did I make a good purchase?
Thanks for any information.
Mike here: I don't have that model.
Subject:	no clear images DS2070AT
Sent:	Monday, September 6, 2004 08:32:46
From:	Flores
Please receibe kind greetings from Mxico..

I'm new to astronomy and to start myself I got a Meade DS 2070 AT, which
I think was a good choice.

I have set the telescope acoording to the handbook but I can't get clear
images from it..  I mean I can focus my objective but the image always
looks as if I were moving the lens (dragging)..and obviously everything
is static..  For example a light point (lets say a star or city light .
it looks as if I were "dragging" the lens while looking..

What am I doing wrong?

I'm sending you an image (not from my telescope) which is quite similar
to the way I'm looking through my telescope..

Thanks a lot for your attention and help Fausto..
Mike here: If points of light are smears, there could be a couple of reasons. Either the optics have something smeared on them or the optics are way out of alignment. If the telescope is new, I suggest exchanging it at your dealer. If the telescope is used, then you will want to clean or collimate the optics, whichever is the culprit. One other thought. Does the smearing rotate when you rotate the eyepiece? If you gently shake the eyepiece can you hear a rattling? Do you have more than one eyepiece to try out?


Thanks a lot for your fast answer.

The telescope is new, anyway it was bought almost a year ago, so its
warranty is over.. (I bought it and then for job reasons I was out from
home for almost a year). So I think it's more a problem of optic
aligment rather than something smeared on the optics, since it was
packed until now..and in fact it was shipped home from another state, so
there was some handling involved..

I'm going to test my eyepiece as you told me and then let you know, and
yes, I just have one eyepiece, but lets see..

If the problem is alignment.  Should I follow the instructions in the
handbook for proper collimation? Or there's a better/easy way to do it..

Have a nice day/evening..
Mike here: Yes, follow the manual.
Subject:	Meade DS-90ATA
Sent:	Wednesday, September 1, 2004 13:47:57
From:	bill wilson (wordsmith321@hotmail.com)
Last night I was wandering Sam's Warehouse Club, and saw a Meade 90mm
refractor for 200 bucks; I snatched it up.  I have just gotten it out of
the box.  It looks great, but the model number is DS-90ATA.  I can find
no refrence to this model at Meade's site or anywhere else on the
net...is anyone familiar with it?
Mike here: It is a discontinued model. Search the ETX Site for "DS-90"; you will get lots of hits.

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